Remember back in 4th grade when all your girlfriends would come over to talk about crushes and eat ice cream sundaes? Well, this is just like that. But, you know, with grown-up drinks. From the classiest of crystal stemware to gold and blush accents for the buffet, Crystal Palecek, founder and editor-in-chief of Rue magazine, dishes on her must-haves for those no-men-allowed nights.

Girls' Night Tips

“The arrival of summer is the perfect excuse to get together with your girlfriends. And, if you’re tired of the rushed happy hours after work (I know I am), a thoughtful, feminine fete is easy to throw with a few essentials. First off, take cues from your garden with festive florals that never fade. Deck the table with gold accents. And take your cocktails – mojitos are a must – to professional levels with handblown wineglasses in blush hues. Opt for a sturdier sipping option with vintage-inspired paper straws.

Set your Spotify to play the summer’s top hits. Then send guests off with a flirty tote filled to the brim with basking must-haves, from beach books to coconut water. Let the party commence.”

Our Cocktail Hour with Rue Magazine: Girls’ Night In Boutique opens Friday, June 13, at 11AM ET.

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June 13, 2014


The perfect cheese plate. Knowing how to assemble it – and match it with wine – is a hosting essential. So before you throw together a hodgepodge of grocery store cheeses for your next dinner party, peep these tips from David Seaton, former cheesemonger at Formaggio Kitchen and now the wine, cheese, and charcuterie director at Spoke Wine Bar, opening in February in Somerville, MA:

Cheese Plate

Choose Your Cheeses

  • Start with a simple, balanced mix of cheeses, such as a mild goat cheese, a buttery Brie, and an earthy, hard cheese like Gruyère.
  • “A ‘tasting portion’ of cheese should be in the realm of 3/4 of an ounce per person,” Seaton says, “but if you do have some left over, there are worse problems!”
  • Buy your cheese the day of or the day before your gathering and leave it out at room temperature (65 – 70 degrees). Serving cheese cold will “mute or mask the flavors,” but if you do have to refrigerate it, “make sure it is wrapped in butcher paper or cheese paper and keep it in the crisper section” to prevent it from drying out.

Add Your Extras 

  • Accoutrements should be “a backdrop to the cheese.” Seaton suggests offering a jam or marmalade, roasted mixed nuts, and fresh or dried fruit for texture and flavor. As for the vehicle? Bread and crackers “are both pretty neutral, so you won’t do much harm even choosing a seeded bread.”
  • When it comes to cured meats, the occasion is king: “If you’re having a formal gathering, charcuterie should be on a separate platter. If you have guests coming over to watch the hockey game or Golden Globes, do what you want.”
  • Serve your cheese on a wooden cheese board for a rustic appearance, or make your own cheese plate.

Continue reading “Assemble a Party-Ready Cheese Plate” »

January 16, 2013

Entertaining, in a nutshell, takes practice, courage, and a little imagination for repurposing furniture and objects into party central. I love throwing a party regardless of my small floor plan. Pick a party theme that embraces the coziness of your mini-sized space and start planning:

  • Create different party zones even if you live in under 300 square feet – an area for conversation, games, drinking, and dancing. Keep seating away from drink central to avoid congestion.
  • No room to spare for guests’ coats?  Time to hit the showers! I have a collapsible coat rack that fits right into my shower and moonlights as a coat check for parties. To be fun, you can create “numbered” claim check tags printed with a guest photo to hang on each hanger. Try to keep hangers all the same color so they look neat and tidy.  I also provide baskets underneath to hold purses and briefcases.
  • Not enough table space? Grow up! Put everything on a footed platter and start stacking. I use regular white plates (a dinner, salad, and dessert size) and stack them with white eggcups. Reusable Museum Gel keeps everything attached and stable. When the party is over, plates store flat in their cabinet until the next gathering.
  • Create an invite and menu around miniature appetizers and tiny martinis. Mix up a signature cocktail for the night, which always makes guests feel special and festive.
  • Have a few friends help pitch in for a “short” bartender.  Even in a small space, having someone dedicated solely to ice, shaking cocktails, and filling glasses elevates the cool factor for the night and instantly relieve hostess anxiety.
  • Invest $50 of your party budget toward a folding butler’s tray table that you can transform into a portable bar. You will use it over and over again. The best part is that everything folds up flat. Another recessionista-style option: a cheap luggage rack can double as a second drink station.  Just top it off with a tray that you own, and guests will be partying until the sun comes up.
  • Lighting is key so put your main lights on dimmer switches and opt for flameless candles everywhere – safety first! Flameless tea lights can safely add a glow to bookshelves, windowsills, baseboards, and bedrooms… places you would never use real flames.
  • Petite Party Favors To Go: Personalize miniature cupcakes with photo icing for each guest… in take-out form. Just upload your favorite photo to any of several custom icing websites, and they’ll send back edible photo sheets that dissolve into icing.
November 7, 2012

Fall Entertaining: Throw A Pumpkin Party


Our copy team gathered last night to celebrate autumn with an all-too-seasonal pumpkin party. From sinfully sweet treats to hearty, savory delights (emphasis on the former), the writers brought some serious culinary competitors to the well-adorned table. Here are some quick tips to help you throw a gourd-themed bash of your own:

Start your décor off right with these beautiful DIY Pumpkin Planters that are so easy to make (plus you have seeds left over for a quick-baked snack). Add themed serving platters and – of course – more pumpkins, and the mood will pretty much set itself.

Pumpkin carving, while the ultimate October activity, is logistically tricky. Instead, pick up some medium-sized pumpkins and set out paint pens, mod podge (equal parts glue and water), tissue paper, stick-on moustaches, and whatever else appeals to you, then let your guests decorate to their hearts’ content. No messy goop to clean up, and everyone gets to create their own take-home favor.

A variety of dishes is the key to hosting a successful meal, so decide on a theme and ask guests to bring a favorite to share. Our spread included baked brie with pumpkin butter, salad topped with pumpkin seeds, pumpkin-stuffed ravioli, and enough delicious, pumpkin-infused baked goods to cover a tabletop. Offer mulled cider, red wine, or pumpkin spice martinis, and you’ll be glad that, by the time your guests say good night, you’re already at home.

By Jess Huckins, Staff Writer

Have a great pumpkin-themed party idea? Share it in the comments below or tweet us @ruelala.

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October 10, 2012